Seven rescued after yacht hit whale

2015-09-29 06:00

Seven sailors were rescued during a regatta after striking a whale.

Their yacht struck a whale off the coast of False Bay, during the FBYC Spring Regatta on Saturday.

NSRI Simon’s Town station commander Darren Zimmerman says the 35-foot yacht had seven adult crew onboard.

“We launched the sea rescue craft and requested boats that were being used along the regatta route to act as markers,” he says.

“One of the marker boats, an SA Navy harbour patrol boat, reached the scene first and rafted their boat to the yacht to act as buoyancy,” he says.

The yacht had struck the whale accidentally while sailing at about 13 knots (24 km/hr), causing the mounted rudder to be ripped off. This left a hole about half a metre wide below deck, causing a massive inflow of water.

“The yacht crew reacted quickly by using life jackets, sails, seat cushions and whatever loose bits and pieces of the yacht they could to plug the hole and it seems even their own bodies were used,” he says.

Three of the yacht crew sustained injuries during the ordeal.

A female was treated for hypothermia and near drowning symptoms.

“Another female was treated for bruising to both of her knees and a male was treated for a laceration to his lip which appears to have been caused by the tow line.”

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